Linda Stamper Boyne: Why I stay off the path of punditry
Vail, CO, Colorado
Call me a coward, but I don’t like taking a position on political issues, public policy or controversial topics in print.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have opinions on the issues of the day. I just choose not to voice them in this column.
Am I depriving the world of my unique perspective? Holding back ideas that would change the course of our nation? Well, maybe. But it’s just not my style, baby. You will probably never see a column with my name attached taking on a divisive issue or stating a position on policy.
“Why is this, Linda?” you might ask.
Well, I’ll tell you. What’s the old saying? “It’s a woman’s prerogative to change her mind.”
I don’t put it print because I might change my mind. Once it’s in print, it’s out there forever!
Now I’m not talking here about beliefs. I think there is a substantial difference between our belief systems, which is the basis of who we are, and our opinions.
My beliefs don’t change dramatically. My opinions are subject to change depending on new facts, different experiences or, sometimes, the time of the month.
I don’t see myself as wishy-washy or indecisive. I like to think I am open-minded and compassionate. In many cases, I can see points on all sides of an argument. Nothing is black and white. There is always a gray area, and that’s where I live.
Situations change. People change. With the constant evolution of ourselves and everything around us, how can we stick with the exact same position on the issues? How can we not take into account the differences and new information and consider those in our opinions? I think it’s irresponsible not to and, honestly, a little small-minded.
For most of the topics I choose to write about, switching positions has no grave consequence for me or my readers. Case in point:
Two years ago I wrote about mountain biking, admitting that while my bike was made for off-road adventure, the tires hadn’t touched the dirt in several years. I therefore deemed it a “mountain” bike. My opinion at that time is summed up with this section of that column:
“One of my girlfriends has vowed to take me on a relatively easy mountain bike ride. She’s sure more time on the bike will help build my confidence. I’m wary. I know I have the skills buried somewhere deep inside me. Clearly it’s just like riding a bike; you never forget how. But do I really need the thrill and adrenaline that mountain biking provides? Isn’t adrenaline related to the stress hormone cortisol, which accelerates the aging process? That seems like a good enough reason to avoid it.
“On the other hand, I probably don’t have too many more years that my body will allow me to punish it in that way and bounce back in a reasonable amount of time. At what age are we too old-too wise to engage in potentially hazardous activities, especially those where we could break an arm or, worse yet, a hip? Surely I’ve got to be approaching that age. Until then, do I have to toughen up and venture out? Or may I sit on my “mountain” bike on the lovely paved path and enjoy the smooth ride and the scenery?”
Guess what, people? I toughened up and ventured out! I took the Vail Mountain Bike Camp Women’s Clinic, unearthed the skills I’d forgotten and, darn it, it’s fun being on the dirt! And while I don’t feel the need to enter the Race Series, I’m enjoying the challenge of the being off road, away from civilization, one with nature.
And premature aging be damned, the adrenaline makes me feel young and alive! It actually transports me to my childhood, riding my bike on the old logging roads that surrounded my neighborhood, trees towering over me, grass beneath my tires, wind in my face feeling fearless and adventurous!
I seriously doubt that anyone is going to be riled up enough about my fickle opinion on this issue to put fingers to keyboard and complain to my editor that I can’t pick a side and stay on it. Something to be said for being open-minded.
Linda Stamper Boyne of Edwards can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org